Formerly the Mary Magdalene Project
Jes Mural

Staff

Dr. Stephany Powell, Executive Director

Dr. Stephany Powell's unique insight into the world of sexual exploitation and trafficking gained through her thirty years with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), coupled with her passion for education and her heart for community, make Dr. Powell an unparalleled choice to lead Journey Out into its future. Dr. Powell retired from the LAPD as Vice Sergeant and accepted the leadership role at Journey Out in October 2013. 

In addition to her LAPD tenure, Dr. Powell is a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership and utilizes that singular combination in a number of ways. She created and facilitated Team Building and Executive Leadership workshops based on positive change dynamics for the Fire and Police departments. Additionally, she is an Adjunct Professor of Behavioral Science at the University of La Verne and the Los Angeles Trade Technical College. Dr. Powell also founded a consulting business specializing in organizational leadership, conflict resolution and team building to create positive organizational change.

Most important, Dr. Powell uses her considerable skills and insight to educate the community about the complex and often misunderstood world of sex trafficking and to create positive change for its victims.

Dr. Powell is a powerful speaker, a tenacious educator and advocate for change, and one of the premiere experts in this field. We can't think of a more perfect individual to lead our clients on their Journey Out and this organization as it grows.

 

Donna Sarullo, MPA, Associate Executive Director

Donna Sarullo joined Journey Out in 2003 and served as Case Manager and Program Director from 2003 to 2008. Donna has extensive experience in domestic violence having worked with the Domestic Violence Project of Glendale YWCA and the Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) program in the San Fernando Valley. While with DART, she assisted victims of domestic violence by riding along in emergency domestic abuse situations with the LAPD as a victim advocate.

In 2008 Donna left Journey Out to serve as Program Director for the Valley Branch of the Arthritis Foundation. Ms. Sarullo returned to Journey Out in 2010 as Outreach Coordinator and now serves as Associate Executive Director. Donna is a graduate of California State University Northridge with a Masters Degree in Public Administration – Nonprofit Management. 

Dianne Amato, Program Director

Dianne Amato has been working with and for survivors of domestic sex trafficking for the last 10 years. She joined Journey Out in March 2008 as the Program Director. Dianne holds a Bachelor's degree from California Baptist University in Behavioral Science with a concentration in Social Work. Before coming to Journey Out, Dianne worked as the Case Manager and Co-Director at Safe House in San Francisco, a long-term residential home for women exiting prostitution. Dianne has also worked at IBHS Behavioral Health Services, serving as a Substance Abuse counselor and worked with at-risk teens at St. Anne's Maternity Home in Los Angeles. Dianne facilitates our survivor-led groups, youth prevention and intervention programs. She is also a mentor and guide to other girls and women seeking to leave commercial sexual exploitation; she is also a survivor of commercial sex trafficking.

Cherise Charleswell, MPH, Development & Outreach Manager

Cherise Charleswell joined Journey Out in September 2016 as Development & Outreach Manger. Cherise has a multidisciplinary education, having undergraduate degrees in the Biological Sciences and Anthropology, as well as a Masters in Public Health. She is actually serving as The Immediate Past President (after 2-terms as President) of the Southern California Public Health Association (SCPHA), on the Publications Board of the American Public Health Association (APHA) helping to oversee the publication of timely public health research and best practices, and has held other various leadership position with (APHA). Her research, work, and advocacy has traditionally focused on health inequity, women, racial/ethnic minorities; and how social determinants of health in the built environment impacts their health outcomes, quality of life, and life expectancy. Cherise is also a former Diversity Officer, who comes from an immigrant background, and has thus been a champion of culturally and linguistically competent services.

Cherise is also the current Senior Chair of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) Social Justice Task Force, she is an Editorial member of the Journal of Peace, Gender, and Development, a co-host and Producer of Feminist Magazine on KPFK 90.7FM – part of the independent Pacifica Radio Broadcast Network, and a former Governing Board Member of the Society for Advancement of African American Public Health Issues (SAAPHI).

Cherise brings a wealth of professional experience to Journey Out; particularly in terms of grant programs, outreach and collaborations, and program evaluations. She champions the need for solid data – because it not only justifies program funding, but also helps to drive program development and policy; which will ultimately benefit our clients.

 

Angelica Gomez, Case Manager

Angelica Gomez joined Journey Out in April 2016 as Case Manager. Starting out as a group facilitator, Angelica tries to bring an especially powerful message to the women in our program seeking to leave "The Life" and provides resources to hopefully assist them to sustain a functional life outside of sexual exploitation. Angelica holds a Bachelor degree from California State Dominguez Hills in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations.

Angelica's unique personal life experiences help her effectively facilitate Survivor Groups. For the last 2 years, she has facilitated intervention and prevention groups at group homes with youth. Angelica also mentors other girls and women who are trying to exit sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.

Angelica has used her experience working with this population to bring awareness on the issue of sex trafficking by presenting at many speaking events, and giving a voice to a population that was voiceless before. Angelica hopes to create reform for sex trafficking survivors through legislative reform, outreach, community involvement, and "planting the seed of empowerment".

 

Tika Thornton, Crisis Response Case Manager

Tika Thornton joined Journey Out in Feburary of 2017, as a Crisis Response Case Manager. Tika is an advocate against sex trafficking. A survivor herself, moved into mentoring and speaking to raise awareness of sex trafficking. She speaks at a group home called Crittenton, where she spreads awareness of trafficking and provides one-on-one peer counseling. Tika is a council member of Long Beach GRIP, an organization that helps at-risk youth. She serves as a mentor to girls who have been arrested, provides them with resources for GED prep, trauma counseling, medical assistance, and housing. Tika also shares her personal story as a survivor to help kids in the Long Beach area understand trauma and guides them to accessing therapy. She is actually serving her first term as President of Long Beach Advocates for Change. Tika is a graduate and sits on the board of directors of the Two Wings Qualified Academy, a nonprofit organization that provides survivors job skills and resources to start careers, and co-facilitates trauma information training. Tika plans to major in Business Administration and/or Psychology in order to start her own organization helping incarcerated youth connect to mental health specialists.

Tika has also conducted a riveting TedEx talk, which can be viewed at the following link: http://www.tedxcanondrivewomen.com/8203tika-thornton.html.

Jessica Hernandez,  Case Manager & Crisis Case Manager 

Jessica Hernandez joined Journey Out in May 2015, as a Social Welfare intern, while she was a student at California State University Northridge (CSUN). Jessica, is trained in anti-oppressive social work, and has worked as an intern with over 100+ human trafficking victims & sex workers doing case management, translating for Spanish monolingual clients, and advocating sex awareness. After graduating in May 2016 with her Bachelors in Social Welfare Jessica started working with special needs and foster care children, while still volunteering at Journey Out facilitating our “Healing Through Arts” classes every Tuesday for almost a year.

Jessica was officially hired at Journey Out August 2017 as a Case Manager/Crisis Case Manager. Being multilingual, Jessica works closely with our Latino population using diverse empowerment approaches as key motivators for client success. Jessica is currently working on publishing new Sex Work Research literature with the Sociology Department of CSUN to help create more understanding and awareness of sex work life balance and addressing stigmas, taboos and stereotypes related to Sex Work and Human Trafficking. Jessica hopes to use her experiences at Journey Out as catalyst to be able to share underrepresented voices and create a more informed tolerable compassionate society.

 

Tasjah Nevill, Project Coordinator

Tasjah Nevill joined Journey out in August 2017 as a Project Coordinator. She is a graduate of Chicago State University and holds a Bachelor Degree in Business Management.

Born and Raised Chicago, Tasjah served as Executive Assistant for the 4th Ward Alderman William Burns. There she Assisted city residents in resolving disputes with government agencies, advocated on behalf of underserved communities, and assured effective operation of city services. It is her interest on working on behalf of the most vulnerable populations that led Tasjah to Journey Out.

She relocated to Los Angeles California in June of 2015, and her special areas of expertise include: generating and implementing strategies that enhances community engagement, project management, and public relations. Tasjah brings to Journey Out seven years of professional outreach and community organizing experience.

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